Posted Under: Johanna's View
This might, in some ways, be one of the more controversial post I write here, however, it seems only write that I give Jim Fregosi his due. He passed this morning, with his family close by, as this Tracy Rigolsby story tells.
I met Fregosi for the first time at the winter meetings in Las Vegas. I didn’t really chat with him, but was with a group that he joined for a little while one evening. He talked about baseball, and some teased him about his partying ways. He seemed proud of his hard living. And while that probably isn’t something to be proud of, he was that stereotype of the 70s ballplayer, I think.
Jim Fregosi had had a lot of success on the field and as a Manager as well, and so was always well respected for his baseball knowledge in this game. His imposing size also made him a figure to be reckoned with, but those who knew him well loved him and spoke often about his loyalty to them.
I would see him each winter meetings, several of my friends were also friends with him. He never seemed to remember me, and actually mixed me up with then Baseball Prospectus editor Christina Karhl- something not that easy to do if you have ever stood next to both of us. (She’s over 6′ tall, among other differences- I’m 5′5.)
This past winter, I had an early morning meeting, and ran into one of my friends at about 7am in the lobby- he was sitting with Fregosi. Billy introduced me to the whole group and when he got to Fregosi- I just waved him off, saying he never remembers me anyway- and then hurried off to my meeting. Later that day, while talking with some colleagues, Fregosi approached. Someone, again, thought to introduce me, and he said- “You don’t have to do that, I love this girl!” After 5 years, he learns my name I thought, just because I had finally reached the point where he didn’t matter.
On twitter today, many are talking about their memories of Fregosi, and now you have heard mine. I thought I might get a few more opportunities to actually hear him discuss baseball- not the crazy part of the life, but the actual intricacies of the game. That is not to be. Rest in Peace.